Prednisone: what it is for, how to use it and side effects

Prednisone is an anti-inflammatory, antiallergic and antirheumatic drug that is used for the treatment of rheumatism, allergies, dermatological diseases, tumors, among other indications .

The drug can be found in the main pharmacy chains in 5 mg or 20 mg.

What is prednisone?

Prednisone is a corticosteroid. Prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation. It also suppresses the immune system.

Prednisone is used as an anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressant medication .

Prednisone treats many different conditions such as allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis or respiratory disorders.

What is prednisone used for:

Prednisone treats many different conditions such as allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis or respiratory disorders.

You should not take Prednisone if you have a fungal infection anywhere in your body.

Steroid medication can weaken your immune system, making it easier for you to get an infection. Avoid being around people who are sick or have infections.

Do not receive a “live” vaccine while using prednisone.

Contact your doctor right away if you have shortness of breath, severe pain in your upper stomach, bloody or tarry stools, severe depression, changes in personality or behavior, vision problems, or eye pain.

You should not stop using Prednisone suddenly. Follow your doctor’s instructions to reduce your dose.

Precautions before taking prednisone:

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to Prednisone or if you have a fungal infection anywhere in your body.

Steroid medication can weaken your immune system, making it easier for you to get an infection or worsen an infection you already had or recently had.

Tell your doctor about any illness or infection you have had in the last few weeks.

To make sure Prednisone is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • Any illness that causes diarrhea;
  • Liver disease (such as cirrhosis);
  • Kidney disease;
  • Heart disease, high blood pressure, low blood potassium levels;
  • A thyroid disorder;
  • Diabetes;
  • A history of malaria;
  • Tuberculosis;
  • Osteoporosis ;
  • Glaucoma, cataracts or herpes infection of the eyes;
  • Stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, or a history of stomach bleeding;
  • A muscle disorder such as myasthenia gravis;
  • Depression or mental illness.

Prolonged use of steroids can lead to bone loss (osteoporosis), especially if you smoke, don’t exercise, don’t get enough vitamin D or calcium in your diet, or if you have a family history of osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about your risk of osteoporosis .

Prednisone can cause low birth weight or birth defects if you take the drug during the first trimester.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while using this medicine. Use effective birth control.

Prednisone can pass into breast milk and harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Steroids can affect growth in children. Talk to your doctor if you think your child is not growing at a normal rate when using this medication.

How to take prednisone?

Take prednisone exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all instructions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to ensure you get the best results.

Do not take this medication in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Take Prednisone with food.

Your dosage needs may change if you experience unusual stress, such as a serious illness, fever, or infection, or if you have surgery or a medical emergency.

Do not change your dose or medication schedule without your doctor’s advice.

Measure liquid Prednisone with a special measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose measuring device, ask your pharmacist.

Do not crush, chew or break a delayed-release tablet. Swallow it all.

While using Prednisone , you may need frequent blood tests at your doctor’s office.

Your blood pressure may also need to be checked.

This medication may cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using Prednisone .

You should not stop using prednisone suddenly. Follow your doctor’s instructions to reduce your dose.

Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card saying you take prednisone.

Any healthcare provider who treats you should know that you are using a steroid.

What happens if I miss a dose of prednisone?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose.

Do not take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose on prednisone?

Seek emergency medical attention. An overdose of Prednisone is not expected to produce life-threatening symptoms.

However, long-term use of high doses of steroids can lead to symptoms such as thinning skin.

Easy bruising, changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially on the face, neck, back, and waist), increased acne or facial hair, menstrual problems , impotence , or loss of interest in sex.

What should I avoid taking prednisone?

Avoid being around people who are sick or have infections . Call your doctor for preventative treatment if you are exposed to chickenpox or measles.

These conditions can be serious or even fatal in people who are using a steroid.

Do not receive a “live” vaccine while using this medication. Prednisone may increase the risk of harmful effects from a live vaccine.

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Prednisone .

Prednisone side effects:

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Prednisone : hives; breathing difficulty; swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat.

Call your doctor right away if you have:

Blurred vision, eye pain, or seeing halos around lights
Bloating, rapid weight gain, shortness of breath;
Severe depression, feelings of extreme happiness or sadness, changes in personality or behavior, seizures (seizures);
Bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood;
Pancreatitis (severe pain in the upper part of the stomach spreading to the back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate);
Low potassium (confusion, irregular heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or lameness);
Dangerously high blood pressure ( severe headache , blurred vision, ringing in the ears,anxiety , confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, seizure).

Side effects:

  • Sleep problems (insomnia), mood swings;
  • Increased appetite , gradual weight gain;
  • Acne, increased sweating, dry skin, thin skin, bruising or discoloration;
  • Slow wound healing;
  • Headache , dizziness, spinning sensation;
  • Nausea, stomach pain, bloating;
  • Changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in the arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).

Will other drugs affect prednisone?

Many drugs can interact with prednisone. Not all possible interactions are listed here.

Useful links: 

Tell your doctor about all your medications and any that you start or stop using while taking Prednisone , especially:

  • amphotericin B;
  • cyclosporine;
  • digoxin, digitalis;
  • Saint John’s herb;
  • an antibiotic such as clarithromycin or telithromycin;
  • antifungal medication such as itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole;
  • birth control pills and other hormones;
  • a thinner blood, such as warfarin, Coumadin;
  • a diuretic or “water pill”;
  • the hepatitis C drugs boceprevir or telaprevir;
  • HIV or AIDS drugs such as atazanavir, delavirdine, efavirenz, fosamprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir, saquinavir;
  • medicines for insulin or diabetes that you take by mouth;
  • a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam and others.

Other information:

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others and use this medicine only for the
  • prescribed indication.
  • Always consult your physician to ensure that the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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